The child began to hum
like electricity through a wire
to vibrate and transmit information, alive
the way a bee will hum
against a window or a rabbit, in a wire
will still hop. The wire
tightens; the rabbit, thinking itself alive
will move against the bees’ drowsy summer-hum
If you hum a tune, the child or the rabbit will dance like a puppet on a wire, mimicking something alive.
I used to have a book that identified animal tracks in the snow:
the rabbit’s back-facing vault, the hawk’s sprawl, the dragging tail of a mouse,
all crisp as shadows under the full moon.
Books don’t prepare you for the way the moon
goes behind a cloud, mud settles, snow
drifts over the battle of hawk and mouse.
It’s not enough to know what the track of a mouse
should look like, or that even the new moon
makes a round imprint among the stars, a stony boot in fresh snow.
I looked for patterns in the snow; you traced the shape of the mouse in the moon.
When we sang together, we wove notes like silk
I find myself these days caught chanting children’s rhymes instead: red
sky at night, rose rose red. Find myself singing my own lonely lullaby.
Do you sing to her, our daughter? What lullaby
do you weave her from bronze and brass and silk?
what sheets do you lay her between, white or red?
I know what color our blood is together: the red
stained your hands, turned your scream into a lullaby
I woke alone, surrounded by white, hoping for the edge of your skirt: among cotton, silk.
No white sheets here, no green coverlets, but I would still sing you a red silk lullaby.
Well, aren’t you a special snowflake,
expecting me to edit this document
when you haven’t even saved it to the network?
Look, mister, we have a network
for a reason. That reason is that, unlike a snowflake,
a contract needs version control. Not to pretend like versions 1 and 2 are each a different document.
So you can take your document…
And you can save it to the network…
No, really, just click on the little icon over there that looks like a snowflake.
(I’m going to cut a paper snowflake out of each page of this goddamn document and tape it to the wall and then head to the bar to “network.”)
December always makes me want to write a tritina. A lot of tritinas, actually. Dunno what it is about the season. This week’s version was brought to you by 3 words from Melony.
In the summer, when the power lines ummmmm
and crackle, when the tar
melts underfoot and the world is fragrant
with the smells of summer, fragrant
with heady lavender and the rose bush is full of the ummmmm
of bees carrying home their weight of honey-tar:
Your eyes are black as night, as coal, as tar
and the dark space between neck and shoulder is fragrant
with salt and sweat and your mouth is full of yes and ummmmm-
In summer, ummmmm, in summer the smell of pine tar in your hair and the world is fragrant.
A sliver on the screen, a ghost
of what will come, a shadow
waiting to become a bump,
and underneath each bump
of furrowed autumn earth a ghost
of last year’s harvest casts a shadow.
Watch where light and shadow
fade into each other, where they bump
into chiaroscuro’s ghost.
She was a fox. I mean, a real fox,
not a female human that some awkward but heartfelt
dude was hitting on, trying not to look like scum
and she picked her way delicately black-footed through the scum
at the water’s edge, one small fox
and the reflection of a fox, while my heart felt
all of the things that it was meant to feel; by which I mean my heart felt
happy sad warm cold love hate glorious scum
trailing after her like the shadow of a fox
in each fox-footprint my heart felt collected together like the white bubbles of river-scum.
Returning to the tritina form like the scene of a crime with three words from the lovely Natalie.
Come down to the backyard, where the old tire swing
Hangs in the tree, where I used to swing until my yellow
Dress flew up in a billowing cloud. On the ground, one shoe.
The grass was green, then, and my other shoe
Was wedged in the fork of the plum tree, where the green plums still swing
Ripening into succulence, handfuls of golden yellow
But the yard-grass is yellow
And crackles lately beneath my shoe
The ropes fray on the swing.
Come, swing with me, you in your yellow boots and I in my one shoe.
We are gathered under a low sky, where a ring of stone
sits in a circle of barren earth sown with scattered gravel. Our car stands empty now except for the trunk full of wine.
Someone breaks bread; someone says grace.
Beyond the circle, a path descends to the river. She follows it down, walks with grace
where my feet would slip. I would turn an ankle or a phrase on that stone
in her way. My words are unsteady around her; I blame the wine.
The bread is gone, the wine
is drunk; or we are. And long ago our grace
deserted us. We are lost in this maze of bare earth and false stone.
This is the end product of a gauntlet I threw down yesterday in a discussion with some of the editors over at yeah write. It’s a tritina, the little sister of the sestinas I’ve been writing lately. My words were stone, wine, grace, inspired by this week’s yeah write prompt “what is written in the stone.” I’d already written a piece for the fiction challenge, but I’ve been informed I’m not exempt from poetry on that account….